A casino is a place where people gamble and play games of chance. It may also have a bar, restaurant and hotel. Casinos are a major source of revenue for many governments and are regulated by law. Casino gambling is often a big tourist attraction and some casinos specialize in specific games, such as poker or baccarat. Many casinos feature entertainment such as musical shows, acrobats or comedians.
While a casino may have a variety of attractions such as musical shows, restaurants, shopping centers and hotels, the vast majority of money that is won or lost in a casino comes from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno are just a few of the games that bring in billions of dollars every year for casino owners.
Despite the fact that gambling probably predates written history, the modern casino as an institution emerged during the 16th century as a result of a massive gambling craze that swept Europe. At that time, aristocrats would gather at private clubs called ridotti to indulge in their favorite pastime. The word casino is derived from these Italian clubhouses [Source: Schwartz].
Because of the large amounts of money that are handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. As such, most casinos have elaborate security measures in place to deter these activities. For example, casino security workers can monitor the entire casino floor through cameras mounted on the ceiling. These cameras can be aimed to focus on specific suspicious patrons. They can even monitor individual slot machines.